Thursday, August 21, 2008

Project Management Excuse List

Have you ever sat in a status meeting and thought, "I've heard that excuse before, and that one and that one too..."? Normally I'm very patient, calm and thoughtful. [Editor: Huh???] But this is it. Enough with the excuses. If you have to reuse the same excuses, in the name of efficiency, can we please just use numbers instead of long winded explanations?

In the interests of status reporting efficiency, please use the following list of excuses when you've said you'll have no problem completing something, which will now be late.

I've ordered the list according to how much I'd like to strangle the person giving them to me. You'll notice that I've grouped some of them that are inverse of each other, this is because if you hear one excuse, you'll often hear the other just a little later.

If you have additions, please let me know. As a public service, I'm offering this as a way to improve status meetings. Instead of long winded excuses, they can just say, "I've got 2, 9 and 11" and then the next [Editor: the remainder of the sentence was deleted in the interests of professionalism.]

Numbered Excuse List
  1. We've got scope creep. I don't know where it came from, but have you seen this cool little widget we've added...
  2. How come we never have enough money? Honest, if I could just get this one other tool...
  3. The requirements weren't defined. Why do I have to keep going to all these meetings, I mean, I've already started coding...
  4. The requirements keep changing. Every time I talk to someone, they want something different. It's not worth writing them down...
  5. There's a bug in the (Pick one or more: vendors, downstream app, upstream app, operating system, monitoring system, security... our software)
  6. The new software we bought doesn't work the way we want. It looked so easy when the sales...
  7. We haven't heard back from the software vendor, we filed the report (Pick one: weeks ago, months ago, yesterday... 5 minutes before coming to this meeting)
  8. The project manager from company XXX isn't here today, all the problems are with XXX...
  9. Testing found something we hadn't expected, it will (Pick one: double, triple...)
  10. There's a holiday in XXX's country. They won't be back before Monday. There's nothing we can do until...
  11. We couldn't reach Betty-the-business-analyst or (insert name here), we're stuck until...
  12. The Development, Testing, QA, Production environments aren't the same, the sysadmins are looking at it, they should be done...
  13. Management doesn't understand the problem, if they would just take more time...
  14. Management is too involved, why won't they just let us do our job...
  15. The project sponsor isn't helping us. We sent them an email two weeks or 5 minutes ago and haven't heard anything...
  16. The project sponsor keeps meddling in what we're doing. Every time we turn around, they're asking us questions...
In the interests of project managers everywhere, if you have other well worn excuses, please let me know and I'll add it to the list. [Editor: I have one. Number 17. Brainless author]

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

17. I have been working on a production issue and dit not get to this.
18. Are you telling me this is more important than a production issue?
19. I have run into a unforeseen technical challenge
20. I have lost my source code

Peter said...

21. The CMS is f*#@d up. I can't do anything.
22. Someone changed the passwords and I can't get in.

Anonymous said...

Andy - did we work on some projects together - this looks frighteningly familiar...

Jack Vinson said...

23. I've spent the last [time period] on a critical customer issue.

Also see the LinkedIn question where this has been replicated. http://www.linkedin.com/answers/business-operations/project-management/OPS_PRJ/302432-10448360?browseIdx=0&sik=1219338691538&goback=.ahp.ach_OPS*4PRJ

Chris Ramsby said...

23a: There was an error in operations, so I/we had to assist in troubleshooting it. (i.e. Operations always claims rated more important than projects on the issue-level)
24: The ____ (issue / demand / request / plan / timeline etc) was send to (John Doe's) email, but it never arrived! (Fundamental issue: unverified lack of information & communication)

Dennis D. McDonald said...

Amazing how many of these have something to do with finger-pointing...

Richard C. Lambert said...

We can use a typical stakeholder involvement plan to plan for the activities of stakeholders involvement and the frequency and kind of involvement that is expected. easy invoicing